It's a shame whenever a good makan place closes down because of high costs.
ThaiPan Restaurant, a popular tze char outlet offering Thai and Chinese cuisine in the East Coast area, looks set to be the latest victim.
Popular with customers
The restaurant, located at 13 Siglap Road within the Mandarin Gardens condominium complex, is known for dishes like butter squid, black pepper beef and olive fried rice.
It's racked up positive reviews on websites like Yelp and HungryGoWhere, with a four-star rating after 88 Google reviews.
And it's also popular with students, particularly those who attend the nearby Victoria School, Temasek JC, and Victoria JC.
Restaurant to close in December
But on Sept. 8, Facebook user Kana Marumo shared the news of the impending closure of ThaiPan restaurant, with two photos.In case you can't see it, the caption reads:
"For those who know Thaipan, please read! Let's save Thaipan! ? Please spread the word! Thank you!"
High costs, not sustainable
The first photo is of a letter supposedly written by a manager of ThaiPan restaurant, named Haydee.
It claims the following:
- ThaiPan will close on Dec. 1, 2018.
- This is due to the high costs of rent, ingredients, labour and utilities.
- Rental cost is singled out as the reason why running the restaurant is no longer sustainable.
Mothership.sg has confirmed with the Management Council of Mandarin Gardens that ThaiPan has indicated they are not extending their lease after December 1.
According to a ThaiPan restaurant manager named Haydee, the restaurant is currently paying $12,000 a month in rent.
The second photo is another letter written by someone named John Lucas.
Titled "Save ThaiPan", it also states that ThaiPan will close on Dec. 1, 2018, but makes a number of additional allegations:
- ThaiPan's rent has doubled in five years.
- The Management Council has increased ThaiPan's rent.
- The Management Council is planning to tender for a new restaurant during the en bloc sale.
Mothership.sg has contacted the Management Council of Mandarin Gardens for further comment.
Mandarin Gardens made headlines in March 2018 when property owners approved of a $2.48 billion asking price for an en bloc sale.
Hard to reach
Besides the high operational and rental costs, another reason for ThaiPan's financial woes could be its location.
Situated within the condominium grounds, this makes it somewhat difficult to get to.
Some online reviews have pointed this out, like this one on Yelp:
"The location is pretty not that user-friendly - but due to that, prices are cheap and better compared to restaurants elsewhere...
What I Don't Love: The location. But if you drive or cab, you're good to go! ;D"
The problematic location is also mentioned in the "Save ThaiPan" letter:
"The estate does not reside near an industrial park, so weekday revenue is never good. Most businesses allow only a short lunch break, so if it can't be reached by foot, it is not considered."
To make matters worse, ThaiPan does not seem to be available on food delivery services like FoodPanda or Deliveroo either, even for nearby addresses.
It does provide a catering service, but for larger orders.
For those who might want a taste of ThaiPan before it closes for good, a trip to Mandarin Gardens is in order.
Top image from ThaiPan Restaurant's website.